WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following last week’s announcement by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that it would reduce operational hours at the Raymond, Mon. Port of Entry, calls to reverse the decision have echoed in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
Montana senator Steve Daines and House representative Ryan Zinke penned a letter to CBP commissioner Gil Kerlikowske voicing their displeasure with the move to cease the port’s 24-hour status and reduce its hours to 8 a.m. to midnight each day.
“Terminating the Port of Raymond’s 24-hour status would create costly route diversions and impair the flow of goods in an important economic corridor,” Daines and Zinke wrote in the letter. “We therefore stand with local elected leaders, including Montana state senator John Brenden and Sheridan County commissioners Bill Nyby, Keith Clawson and Bob Nikolaisen, in urging CBP to reverse this shortsighted decision.”
The CBP said the reduction in operating hours was part of its continuing program to align staff to workload and to more effectively utilize its facilities and resources to provide better service to its customers.
The move would mean those wishing to cross the border between the hours of 12:01 a.m. and 7:59 a.m. would have to do so at the Portal, N.D. or Sweetgrass, Mon. Ports of Entry.
“As voices for Montana in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives we are strongly concerned that reducing hours at the Port of Raymond will have adverse impacts on both the rural community and on the broader economy,” Daines and Zinke wrote. “Accordingly, we urge CBP to suspend any final decisions on this proposal until more options can be considered.”
Montana senator John Brenden commended the efforts of Daines and Zinke.
“I appreciate Senator Daines’ and Representative Zinke’s work to prevent U.S. Customs and Border Patrol from moving forward with its shortsighted plan to reduce operating hours at the Port of Raymond,” Brendan said. “The consequences of the CBP’s decision will be felt across Sheridan County and northeastern Montana. I urge the CBP to immediately suspend its plan and prioritize working with local Montana leaders to find a better solution.”
Raymond is located across the border from Regway, Sask., approximately 162 km south of Regina, Sask.